The future of cities: measuring sustainability

The future of cities: measuring sustainability

When we measure cities now, we are seeking to understand them in order to manage them better and to provide evidence of performance. This module discusses some of the ways in which cities are being measured and how these metrics could evolve.

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Aerial view of a busy road

Ever since the first cities were founded, their leaders have needed metrics to understand what was happening in them. What we have measured has changed over time as the needs of city leaders and the role of government have changed. The metrics have become more complex and higher profile, and their uses have expanded, particularly as government addresses a wider range of social needs.

When we measure cities now, we are seeking to understand them in order to manage them better and to provide evidence of performance. Increasingly, we measure cities to understand their viability and to make decisions that will allow those who live in them to be happier and healthier in the future.

This module discusses some of the ways in which cities are being measured and how these metrics could evolve. More important, it provides practical examples of what leading cities are doing, the lessons to be learned and how these can be applied to other cities. 

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